MJ Live

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Community (Written 1/20/06)

During our time in Peace Corps, each volunteer is part of a community of some sort. Whether that be around their primary or secondary activity, everyone has some community of which they are a part. I'm not different in that regard – I definitely have a community here at Chanel College, but a very unique one. As I have said previously, I live in the middle of nowhere basically and for the better part of December there was no one here to really connect with. But during this past week, my community has finally come back and I thought I should tell you about them while it's on my mind. Unlike a lot of the Peace Corps Volunteers in Samoa, my community is not mainly made up of Samoans – it's a diverse group from the islands near Samoa. Let's start with the pule (pool-a = principal) whose name is Father Kevin. He's from New Zealand and has been working at Chanel for at least the past 4 years. He's an older gentleman but really kind hearted and has an amazing ability to remember the kids names and faces. The next man in my community is Father Sione who is from Tonga. He has been working at Chanel for the past 3 years and he has an accent that is distinctly not Samoan. He's got a great sense of humor and has been very welcoming of me since he got back, made me feel at home which was very cool. The next person in my community is new and he's Brother Dennis from Vanuatu. He's new to the school this year and will only be staying for one school year. He's a very nice guy almost always smiling and he's a very good cook (as my community, I try to eat with them a lot so that I feel more integrated – and it helps me cook less, so it's a double win!!). Finally, Mika (who I've talked about previously) is a part of my community and he's the only Samoan that will be living here full time. He, like Dennis, is only here for the school year but it's still good to feel like I'm not the only new person to this community. All four men a part of the Catholic church known as the Society of Mary (Marist) so it's a good community for me where I don't feel a lot of unnecessary pressures to drink or smoke, just have a good time, hang out and talk and that's fine with me. I haven't taken any pictures of them yet but once school starts I'm sure I'll be posting lots of pictures from school events which will have them in it. School 'starts' on Monday – the teachers will be coming to the school and the students will be coming on Tuesday. Whether that means I will have to actually start teaching or just start planning, I'll find out. L8r.  

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